2018 HR trends for APAC and Singapore

Written by Isabelle Larche

Managing Director, Recruitment & Executive Search at Timeo-Performance
Published on 06-05-2018

Among the numerous articles circulating about HR trends for APAC in 2018, the consensus seems to be that Employee experience, Workplace and HR Digitalisation and Upskilling/Retraining will play a big role in shaping this year’s HR and recruitment environment. HRM Asia’s survey on Workplace Trends is no exception with listing rather “generic” trends.

I am very pleased to see the shift to a more human and holistic HR with a focus on the Employee experience as this is not new to us at Timeo-Performance. 10 years ago, we founded our recruitment, training & coaching and HR consultancy with the same priority to “improve the world of work for everyone”.

While the above-mentioned topics are important and will definitely influence workplace and HR in the future, the question remains if these will have the biggest impact on APAC in 2018. I personally wondered to what degree do they apply to the APAC region and especially Singapore?

APAC and Singapore

In contrast to the mentioned articles, the KellyOCG Workforce Agility Barometer Report draws a different picture with illustrating the challenges leaders in Asia-Pacific and especially Singapore “face in ensuring their HR functions are aligned with business and talent priorities.”


75% of respondents in Singapore expect talent shortages to slow down business growth in the next three years along with 61% of C-level leaders in APAC agreeing with this.

An alarming low number of only 10% in Singapore believe their HR functions are capable of providing strategic workforce insights. Surprisingly, only 41% in APAC and 37% in Singapore engage external HR consultants to provide insights that will inform their strategic workforce planning.

How will HR face the new challenges if more fundamental issues have not been solved?

The study indicates that HR needs to develop capabilities to take a more strategic role with involvement on the business strategy development stage.


In its article about major HR trends for 2018 HR Trend Institute talks about Dave Ulrich’s book “Human Resource Champions” which was mainly reduced to the message that HR needs to become a Strategic Business Partner.

HR Trend Institute argues that it was forgotten to develop the Employee Champion necessary to design a successful employee experience and employee journeys.

While this remains important in order to stay competitive and successful in the anticipated talent shortages, the focus for the APAC region and especially Singapore, however, lies on getting HR a seat at the table with the business.

Isabelle Larche
Isabelle is a Human Performance expert, with over 10 years of professional recruitment experience, and 15 years of Business Management Consulting experience. Isabelle is the Vice President of the French Chamber of Commerce and Trade Counsellor (Singapore Chapter) to the French Embassy.

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